Every year, Apple introduces a new major software update for the iPhone. For 2020, that update is called iOS 14.
Apple previewed several of the new features we can expect to come with iOS 14 during its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June. Here we are diving into what a compatible iPhone will be able to do when the software arrives.
If you want to know if iOS 14 will be able to run on your iPhone when it arrives later this year, check out our iOS 14 system requirements feature.
iOS 14 release date
- Preview at WWDC in June
- Official release likely in September
Apple previewed iOS 14 during its online Worldwide Developers Conference in late June.
A beta version of iOS 14 will be provided to developers for testing following the conference, enabling them to ready their apps for the full launch later in 2020. Apple's public beta testing group, which anyone can join for free, will then get to test the software next.
When the developer and public beta testing has wrapped up this autumn, iOS 14 will officially release alongside the next crop of iPhones.
iOS 14 new features
These are the features that will come to compatible iPhones when iOS 14 launches later in 2020.
Previously, Widgets were only available on the Today screen, but with iOS 14, new Widgets will offer up timely information at a glance and you'll be able to pin them onto any Home Screen page in different sizes.
There is also something called Smart Stack whereby users can create a stack of widgets that use on-device intelligence to give you the right widget based on time, location and activity. You'll be able to swipe through the Smart Stack to see different useful widgets.
The App Library will be positioned at the end of the Home Screen pages and it automatically organises all of your apps into folders, such as Social or Recently Added, as well as Suggestions, showing you apps that might be useful at that particular time. You'll be able to choose how many Home Screen pages to display and hide entire pages for quicker access to the App Library.
An App Clip is a small part of an app - under 10MB - associated with a particular product or business and designed to be discovered as soon as it is needed. App Clips should load within seconds to complete a specific task, like paying for parking or buying a coffee, appearing as a card at the bottom of your iPhone's display.
App Clips will be able to be easily discovered and accessed by scanning a new Apple-designed App Clip code or through NFC tags and QR codes, as well as when shared in Messages or Safari.
In iOS 14, Messages will allow users to pin conversations to the top of their messages list - like WhatsApp can already. Mentions and inline replies are also being introduced in group threads and there will also be new Memoji options, as well as the option to set a group photo using an image or emoji. Users will be able to mute a group conversation but receive notifications when their name is directly mentioned too.
Siri is getting a redesign in iOS 14, not only enabling it to pop up on the page rather than move to a separate screen but it's getting a host of new features too, including better translation functionality and expansion of knowledge. You'll also be able start record and send an audio message using Siri.
New Translate app
A new Translate app will launch on iOS 14, offering translation of voice and text among 11 different languages. The app will work offline for private voice and text translation, using Apple's Neural Engine for results. Turning your iPhone to landscape mode will initiate conversation mode, automatically detecting which languages are being spoken.
Maps will get cycling directions in iOS 14, along with electric vehicle routing and curated Guides. Cycling directions will take into account elevation, how busy a street is, and whether there are stairs on the route.
The electric vehicle routing feature will add charging stops along a planned route based on current vehicle charge and charger types, while Guides provide a curated list of interesting places to visit in a city, such as popular attractions or a new restaurant.
Digital car keys
Digital car keys will arrive with iOS 14, allowing users to use an iPhone or Apple Watch Series 5 to unlock and start their car. They use NFC and you'll be able to share digital car keys using Messages so someone else can drive your car, for example. You'll also be able to disable them though iCloud if a device is lost.
It's worth mentioning that car keys will only be supported by certain devices: iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone SE (2nd generation), and Apple Watch Series 5.
Default third-party apps
Apple will enable users to set third-party apps as their default apps over Apple's own apps in iOS 14. You'll be able to set Chrome or Gmail as your default browser and email app, respectively, for example so when you tap a link or an email address, it'll automatically always open in those apps.
The new iOS 14 software will bring Picture-in-Picture support to iPhone, allowing users to watch a video or take a FaceTime call while using another app.
New Fitness app
The Activity app is getting a redesign for iOS 14, as well as a new name - Fitness. Rings, Workouts and Trends will all be displayed on one page, offering easier access to the information, and there will be more compatibility for new workouts added too, including Dance.
The Health app will offer new features in iOS 14, including sections for managing sleep and a new Health Checklist, which is a centralised place to manage health and safety features like Emergency SOS, Medical ID, ECG and Fall Detection, among others. Support will also be added for new data types for mobility, Health Records, symptoms, and ECG.
With iOS 14, all apps will be required to obtain user permission before tracking and App Store product pages will show summaries of developers' self-reported privacy practices - similar to a food label.
Users will also be able to upgrade existing accounts to Sign in with Apple, choose to share their approximate location rather than their precise location when granting an app location access, and get more transparency into an app's use of the microphone and camera.
Safari will offer a Privacy Report in iOS 14 so users can see which cross-site trackers have been blocked, as well as password monitoring to help users detect saved passwords that may have been involved in a data breach. Built-in translation for entire webpages is also being added - a feature Chrome already offers.
The Home app will get new automation suggestions and expanded controls in Control Center with iOS 14, as well as new features like Adaptive Lighting for compatible lights and on-device Face Recognition for compatible cameras. Adaptive Lighting will see smart lights automatically adjust colour temperature throughout the day, while on-device face recognition will identify friends and family using information it already has.
The Weather app and widget will get next-hour precipitation charts in iOS 14, presenting minute-by-minute precipitation when rain is in the forecast.
Those with a pair of Apple's wireless earbuds will see them gain the ability to seamlessly switch between Apple devices with automatic device switching in iOS 14.
The Find My app will add support for finding third-party products and accessories in iOS 14, with the new Find My network accessory program. It means users will be able to use the Find My app to locate other items as well as Apple devices and any contacts they share locations with.
Accessibility features in iOS 14 include Headphone Accommodations, which will amplify soft sounds and tunes audio to help music, movies, phone calls, and podcasts sound crisper and clearer. There is also sign language detection in Group FaceTime coming in iOS 14, which makes the person signing more prominent in a video call.
Additionally, VoiceOver - a screen reader for the blind community - will automatically recognise what is displayed visually onscreen.
iOS 14 device support
Apple has said the new iOS 14 software features will be available this fall as a free software update for iPhone 6s and later.